Sunday, March 15, 2015

Private Eye Spy

James Bond.

Napoleon Solo.

Kelly Robinson.

From childhood on, I think I've seen every film and television episode featuring those fictional super-spy guys at least a dozen times. And as a grown-up, I still love to catch them when I can. But you know what? Even in childhood, I wondered why should guy spies get all the fun?

That question, and my grown-up answer, is how I came to write The Kill Shot (Random House Alibi), Book #2 in the Jamie Sinclair series, which hits the virtual shelves this week!



The Kill Shot stars Jamie Sinclair, a private-investigator-turned-security-specialist who was raised by her tough-as-nails father. Of course, after an upbringing like hers, Jamie's no shrinking violet. Still, she has a soft spot in her heart for stray dogs and a particular military police officer named Adam Barrett.

So when Jamie travels to London to safeguard a State Department courier at the insistence of her demanding father, she can handle an ambush or two...until a would-be assassin opens fire on her on the cobblestone streets of Covent Garden. Worse yet, someone takes down the assailant with a single kill shot and Jamie could swear the face of the shooter belongs to Barrett himself. Except Barrett is supposed to be 3,000 miles away.

So who's lying?

And who's spying?

Jamie must find out when that single kill shot plunges her into an international game of cat-and-mouse.

You can pick-up your very own copy of The Kill Shot here or anywhere e-books are sold. And I hope you will. Because with Jamie on the case, those guy spies really don't get all the fun!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Better Late Than Never

So... guess who was afflicted with a near terminal case of Spring Fever, compounded by Spring Forward brain fog, and forgot it was her turn to blog?

Yes, that's right, it was me. Sigh. Cue the "wah-wah" music.

To pay tribute to the force which bested me this weekend, here are three of my favorite quotes about the evil genius known as Time.

Douglas Adams

In addition to being the drop-dead funny writer of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and other books, Adams was apparently a notorious scofflaw when it came to deadlines. Looks like I'm in good company!



Groucho Marx

Famous for his cigar, his heavy greasepaint eyebrows and mustache, and his razor-sharp wit, Groucho and his brothers overcame an impoverished childhood to become one of the biggest comedy acts of the early 20th Century. Whenever I get stressed about time, I try to remember this quote. It kind of translates to: You can't control everything. Just go with it.

Lao Tzu

It's not surprising that the man whose writings are the foundation of the Taoist philosophy has a lot of impressive things to say about life! I actually find this quote kind of intimidating, but it's also inspiring. I would love to have this kind of deliberate and conscious attitude toward time! Gives me something to work toward.



So, do you have any advice for me on coping with deadlines? And how have you been dealing with the time change?

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Rock Stars & Love

Keith Urban
So who doesn't love rock stars? In this day and age, they come in all genres of music. Whether it's pop music, country music, rap, hip hop, new age, etc. What draws us to rock stars?

They're larger than life. They are the best at what they do. And they're usually sexy as all get out. Well, at least my favorites are sexy. There's something about their voice and their story-telling ability that draws us in and hooks us. The songs they sing touch us, they move us, they tell us something about ourselves and our culture. They are the poets of our time and the chroniclers or our present state. Through them we see ourselves and our generation reflected in the lyrics and music they write. We can tap into emotion through music and the songs we hear. We visit the past and are pulled back to memories evoked by the music of the rock stars of our childhood and teenage years. We've been formed and shaped by the music and words of artists we've internalized. Words that lull us, teach us, challenge us, heal us, recharge and energize us.
Katy Perry in Vogue Magazine

I'm fascinated and drawn to rock stars, as many readers are these days. I love the larger than life status. The expertise and hard work they pour into their creative careers to achieve their goals. They inspire me.

As you can see by at least two of my photos, a few of the artists who inspire me are Katy Perry, Keith Urban, Little Big Town, Imagine Dragons, John Legend, Blake Shelton, Bruno Mars, Ed Sheeran, and many many others.

In my new contemporary romance release, Every Heart Sings, which is out on March 4, 2015, I explore what happens when a rock star loses his way and needs to re-find his voice when he has creative differences with his manager. By going back to his musical roots and helping to mentor a young teenage boy, Josh Nicodemus becomes the artist he needs to be and discovers what it is that has helped form him along the way. Of course his interaction with heroine Jordan Drake pushes Josh to face the fissure in his past with his grandfather--the primary relationship that formed him creatively. 

Josh has his own work cut out for him because Jordan Drake allows the fear of her own past as a former childhood actress to trap her on Serenity Island, a dying island community, and she refuses to support her nephew, Tony, who wants nothing more than to become the next big rock star. In Every Heart Sings, rock star Josh Nicodemus finds his true voice and true love when he helps former actress Jordan Drake break out of the self-imposed prison she’s created for herself in Serenity and at The Down Dog CafĂ©.

A whole island of quirky characters comes together to meddle, forcing Josh and Jordan to admit their love for each other and help expose the injustice done to Jordan’s sixteen-year-old nephew, who is more than a little music crazy and a huge fan-boy of Josh Nicodemus.
Find my hot contemporary romance at Amazon.

Stop by and let me know a few of your favorite rock stars. And why you love them. I'd love to know.




Sunday, February 22, 2015

Snow Day!

This blog is being cancelled on account of snow. And contest entries that I have to judge and return with comments. Also known as procrastination...



This isn't Boston, that's for certain, but my shoulders don't know that--having shoveled the walk, the steps, and two entire parking spaces.

And now, after a good dose of ibuprofen, I'm off to get the judging done...

Have a good week, everybody. Stay warm!


Sunday, February 8, 2015

Popular Culture: Some Like It Hot

My erotic romance novella, The Dom of My Heart, comes out in the erotic romance anthology Hot Encounters released by Soul Mate Publishing on February 26, and I couldn't be more excited. I read an excerpt from chapter one last night at Lady Jane’s Salon - SilverSpring.

Normally, I write hot contemporary romance. And in most of my stories, I toe that line between steamy sex scenes and erotic romance. This time, I boldly stepped over the line. Why, you might ask? Mostly, because I like my romance hot and, this time, I wanted to explore the concept of power dynamics between two characters. I love writing sex scenes. I've never been one to shy away from writing them. I don’t like the bedroom door closed in the romance I read and write because, for me, it’s all about the emotional and physical connection between two people. Romance and love is tightly intertwined with the mating ritual of sex. Period. For years, women have been ridiculed and put down for reading trash or mommy porn if they read romance or erotic romance novels. And romance writers, of all genre writers, often bear the brunt of sly, back-handed compliments and snikers about the smut they write or they experience out-right sexual harassment because they celebrate women who are sensual creatures--those characters who are not afraid to discuss and explore sexuality and the dynamics of sensuality between them and their lovers.
Mackenzie Lucas reading at LJS

Romance is primarily a genre written by women for women. Erotic romance celebrates the beautiful sensuality at the core of the mating ritual. It is a genre where women get to define and redefine what it means to be sexy, smart, strong, beautiful, and powerful for themselves. So the next time someone ridicules you for reading or writing romance, give them that knowing smile and tell them you’re redefining hot. Because what you do when you read or write romance is tap into the human condition and celebrate the most beautiful connection in the Universe. And that’s a pretty awesome.

Later this week (Feb. 10 & 11) I’m attending and also coordinating Washington Romance Writers volunteers at the Library of Congress’s What is Love? Romance in the Digital Age conference--an event that’s free to the public. At the conference, they’ll be screening The Popular Romance Project’s documentary, Love Between the Covers. I’m excited about this event because panel after panel is filled with educated, articulate women who write, study, and read romance novels. I’ll be interested to see what they have to say about the state of the romance novel, erotic romance, and the peek the romance genre gives us into our popular culture and the human condition. I have a feeling they’ll say romance is thriving.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

RED

 

I recently spent a weekend sorting through my fabric bins. Grays in one pile, purple in another, low volume over there, blue over here, with sub-categories of turquoise, aqua, navy, periwinkle, and, well, blue. Same with the greens. Chartreuse, lime, emerald, mint, grass. Purples (lavender, fuchsia, grape, raspberry sorbet). Oranges that look so fabulous with blues and greens. Finally, red was divided into pinks and red. That's it. No other sub-categories. No brick and cherry and pomegranate and merlot. Just a very small pile. Obviously, I don't own a lot of red fabric. I don't tend to gravitate towards it in stores, I'm not sure I own any red clothes - well, a tee-shirt, maybe. Not much else.

When I think of the colours that I normally surround myself with, it is generally blues and greens of varying shades. Colours of the beach, of the Ireland, of the forest, of wine bottles, of leafy green vegetables, blue cheese and even Fresca. I wear green and blue almost every day from my jewelry to my reading glasses to my clothes. It makes me calm and at home, like browsing in a bookstore or sitting on the couch with my dog. Cool as a cucumber.

It is one thing to be aware of a preference or like. To know that I prefer a house that alludes more to a beach than a Victorian front parlor. But being risk adverse and in a rut can be mistaken for remaining calm and even tempered. I reached the end of last year and wondered was I any different than I had been in January? Had I gone anywhere? Tried anything new? Umm. No.

I have a strong memory of me as a child, maybe 4 years old, during show-and-tell at school. I wanted everyone to know I'd got new shoes. Red maryjanes. There's photo of me at about 2 in a blue corduroy dress, and yes, red lace up shoes. I was not always RED-adverse. I was joyful and wanted to go forward into the fun that only RED shoes could take me.


And that's why this year I am going RED. RED isn't calm. It isn't subtle or tranquil or peaceful. Don't get me wrong. I am a big fan of those things. But I am finding that action is needed in my life. Emotion. Risk. Not just to breathe but to gasp. And perhaps, like the child I was, it is time for me to put on my red shoes and go forward into whatever 2015 has for me.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Girl with Pearls and a Meditation Addiction


This past Friday, I went out to dinner with family. We had great food (nom, nom, nom), great conversation, and laughed plenty long, and plenty loud.

I wore a double strand of pearls that my maternal grandfather gave his bride (who remained his bride for over 65 years). After dinner, my father gave  me more pearls--a necklace and earrings. I donned them forthwith. Wouldn't anyone?

At home, I was too hyped up to go immediately to sleep, so, again, I did what any red-blooded woman with a smartphone in the 21st century would do: I took selfies until I landed a good one and uploaded it to Facebook. Booyah!

What's making me grin in that picture, though, isn't simply dinner with family or a new necklace or a fun portrait.


It's a feeling of well-being I've been cultivating since the fall. It started with a 30 day meditation challenge and is only deepening as I continue the practice in the first month of this new year. My word of the year for 2015 is "MMM" and stands for Meditate, Move, Make. I'm not one hundred percent everyday on the making and the moving, but daily mediation is fast becoming an addiction.

I've always accepted the idea that mediation is beneficial, but mostly said, "One day," or "That's for others, not for me." Now I look for moments throughout the day when I can take a few minutes to breathe, to quiet my back brain, to dive deep into the pool of gratitude that collects at the base of my soul. In the mornings, I do a four minute guided mediation. In the evenings, I write down three things I experienced during the day prefaced by the words "I am grateful that/for..."

Of all the benefits a habit of mediation promises, perhaps the one I've seen most in action in this journey is how calming it is, how it's helped keep my moods steadier, my focus keener, my anxiety (oh, heck yeah, I still have that. I'm not dead. I'm just going hippie) lower.

Do you have a meditation addiction? Think it's all hooey? Don't know where to start?

P.S. I admit it. I really like the photo so I figured out a way to show it off. Pearls have little to do with meditation, as far as I know. But aren't they pretty?