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Archive for the 'Real Life' Category

This Writer’s Life & a Poll (Contest)
Saturday, October 31st, 2020

It’s November of the most trying year I’ve ever lived—and that’s saying a lot given the losses our family has suffered the past nearly three years. Sometimes, it truly feels like we’re living in the dawn of an “Extinction Event.” We’re doing what we can to keep ourselves healthy. I’m sure we’re making mistakes, but we’re masking, handwashing, keeping kids out of school and online, and trying not to go stir-crazy in all our togetherness. Take Halloween. We’ll be playing Halloween games and holding a scavenger hunt in lieu of trick-or-treating. Family fun. Making an event out of everything (just not an extinction event) is important for us because the kids always have something to look forward to.

All this togetherness has taken a toll on my writing. I’ve produced less than half of my usual number of stories this year. I need alone time to create. After Mom died in January and my dd’s family moved into the house, and then the pandemic forcing everyone into closer quarters 24/7, alone time is something I’m training my brain to find in the midst of kid-chaos. Of course, I wouldn’t trade having family around me for anything, but I really do have to commit to sitting my butt in a chair to write more consistently.

That’s why I’m taking up the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) challenge. It runs from November 1-30. The goal is to write 50,000 words. If you carve that up into a daily wordcount goal, that’s 1667 words a day. Completely doable. I begin tomorrow. So, today, I have to figure out what I’m going to write. I have a title (Preacher), a cover (Two, actually. See below!) and a blurb, but no idea what’s going to happen in the story. Not one clue. But I have today to figure out at least the first scene, and since it’s a Montana Bounty Hunter book, I’ll probably jump right into a takedown because those are the most fun scenes to write.

This month, is also the deadline for submissions for my Cowboys: A Boys Behaving Badly Anthology. NOVEMBER 15TH AUTHORS! Tell you what—accept the NaNo challenge just long enough to write that 2500-5500-word story! You can do it! So, you know, I’ll have to add reading submissions to my To Do list! Want the rules? Follow this link.

I’m also trying my hardest to cut out some time to improve my art. I love doing it at night after the hustle and bustle of the day. It’s relaxing. And I think I’m learning. This is last night’s piece. I used Nupastels which, for me, is like drawing with crayons. Completely fun and liberating. I love the foreground, the sky? Not so much, This was taken from a photograph from western Ireland.

So, that’s going to be my November—write, write, write, read, art. 🙂

The Poll

My lovely sister, Elle James, gave me two versions of Preacher. I love the one with the scenery beneath the title, but when I ran them both by my Street Team, they preferred the plainer cover. So, help me make up my mind!

Which cover for Preacher do you prefer?

View Results

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The Contest

Comment on something I’ve written about today—NaNoWriMo, the poll—for a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card!

So, it’s all up to you… (Contest)
Saturday, October 24th, 2020

UPDATE: The winners are…everyone who commented!

The day’s nearly gone, and I’m only now sitting at my desk. I slept in. Which never, ever happens. I don’t let myself do that because I know me. If I don’t start work in the morning, the work doesn’t get done. That’s the curse of a morning person. This picture is me when I’m up on time and ready to go…

But it’s not morning now. And it’s not a sunny day. It’s kind of dreary and chilly. I’m trying not to let the weather dampen my already grumbly mood. I’ve had a full cup of coffee. I showered with a lavender perfumed bath wash. I lit a fragrant candle. I turned on a fan for white noise to still all the footsteps pounding through the house.

I can tell nothing is going to lift my gloomy mood. It would help, I guess, if I had the full use of BOTH hands while I type, because this hunting and pecking with two digits on my left hand is annoying AF.

Is there anything else I can gripe about? Let’s see.

The cat is snoring in his cat bed under my desk. One of my dd’s Jack Russell’s keeps moving against my black leggings, leaving white hair stuck to me. My desk is a mess, once again. My carafe of coffee is almost empty because everyone has helped themselves to it today. Plus, they’ve left their empty cups littered around my space for ME to pick up and take to the kitchen. My printer is dinging because I need a new gray ink cartridge—and I think that’s the only color I don’t have in my stash. Someone ought to offer to make my bed (I’m the oldest person in the house, they should show some deference to my advanced age, right?).

Hmmm… I keep thinking if I run out of things to gripe about, get it all out, that lightheartedness will rush in to fill the empty space. Not working!

So….it’s up to you. Suggestions, y’all?

Leave me an idea to raise me out of this blue funk and you’ll be entered to win a download of your choice from among my huge-ass backlist. 🙂

Just me, chatting away… (Contest)
Monday, October 12th, 2020

UPDATE: The winner is…Cara!

It’s hard to be chatty with one-handed typing. I say that, but I just finished a novella typing with one hand and one finger. It can be done if you’re properly motivated! No excuses!

I’ve been plotting my new book and another series I’ll be showing you soon. Well, as soon as I can get a cover for you to drool over. It’s not easy looking for the right series name, the right branded look for a cover. I love my Montana Bounty Hunters books’ “look”— sis (Elle James, if ya didn’t know) did an awesome job with that.

I spent (er, wasted an afternoon and evening looking for the right guy to be on the first cover. I still have no clue. Nothing jumped out to me from the usual sites. If any of you out there have recommendations for photo stock sites with really hot, rugged men, I’m game to go look!

I spent an hour cleaning my desk. If you could see the amount of crap I keep on my desktop (toys, cups of pens, those weird solar-powered dancing figures, notebooks, and on and on, you’d see what I mean. I’m not taking a photo because you’d call one of those hoarders shows or sic Marie Kondo on me, but I don’t roll with Feng Shui. I roll with clutter.

LawlessSo, tonight after midnight, Lawless releases! Expect fun, sexy times. Due to my hand, it’s shorter than what I’ve been writing lately, but it’s satisfying and sweet, and the heroine is badass in her own way. The hero is an ex-Ranger and presently a Texas deputy—so a guy who can handle thangs. And he has chest hair, which the guy on the cover clearly does not!

A few minutes ago, I went upstairs to start coffee for my dd. She’s got all four kids in the sunroom with the windows open. Outside, it’s sunny and just right—breezy with just a hint of cool. They’re gathered around the table out there with their school laptops and tablets, doing their homework. My dd’s in her groove in the mornings, making sure everyone is keeping up on assignments and getting to their zoom meetings on time. She does all that while doing dishes and laundry. She’s amazeballs.

2020 will be a year everyone in our family will look back on with mixed emotions. I think the fact we’ve pulled together as a family and spent so much time figuring out how to be happy will be something we’ll look back on with fondness. Everything we do is purposeful. Every little victory is worthy of celebration—a movie night, a special dinner.

Which gets me to the coming holiday…Halloween. I’d love your suggestions for making it fun and memorable. We’ll be skipping the door-to-door stuff and the many activities I’m sure most folks will still be doing around town (folks here aren’t much on science or masking). So, offer up ideas for things for us to do around the homeplace, and you’ll be entered to win a $5 Amazon gift card!

Best-laid Plans and the Devil’s Own Luck–and Open Contests!
Monday, September 14th, 2020

I mentioned that I fell last Friday night, right? My hand hurt, but hell, I’ve broken two twos in separate instances over the past year, and no big deal. Now, I’m not at all sure I broke my hand—I won’t go to the doctor unless I have to, because when I went for my broken toe the first time, they handed me an ace bandage and said take some ibuprofen, so I did that for toe #2. I’ll follow the same advice for this injury.

The problem is—a toe I can do without. My hand is another thing altogether. Typing with a hand and one thumb is a PITA. I’m slow, make tons of mistakes, and my hand aches, so I’m not inclined to do it for very long. My lovely September schedule of editing and writing is in the toilet, now. I can’t paint (well, I could, but I don’t want to now), I for sure can’t crochet. Making my own bed is painful. Swimming yesterday was painful. Wah-wah-wah.

And let’s not even mention how much I mourn the loss of my computer glasses…

So, if I’m a little more absent than usual, you know why. In the meantime, check out the open contests. I’ll be back with a better mood soon. 🙂

Open Contests and Offers

  1. A New Puzzle-Contest!  — Ends soon! Win an Amazon gift card!
  2. Landra Graf: Sci-Fi Television Shows (Contest) — Win a FREE book!
  3. One Craptastic Night — Puzzle Contest — Win an Amazon gift card!
  4. Get your FREE Love in Lockdown stories! — EVERYONE! Get your FREE stories!
One Craptastic Night — Puzzle Contest
Saturday, September 12th, 2020

UPDATE: The winner is…ButtonsMom!

This will be short. I have to get my left hand back into an Ace bandage. Dummy me, last night I ran into a large rock in the dark and fell on my face. Or sort of fell backward over the boulder and twisted and landed on my face. It felt like a slow-motion fall—you know, the kind in the movies with the long, loud, “Ooooh Nooooo!” I broke my favorite glasses (because I landed on them), grazed the side of my face, skinned my knees, but the worst injury is to my left hand. I think I may have broken something. I’ll think about going to the doctor if it’s not improving Monday. I hate going to doctors.

Anyways, just another crappy thing to happen in a craptastic year, right? And did I mention that the house’s AC unit’s pipe that takes the condensation out of the house backed up and we had a flood in the basement last night? Yeah, that kind of day.

I may go back to bed.

So, I’ll leave you with a puzzle. Enjoy it!


Solve the puzzle and tell me a story for a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card. Doesn’t have to be long. Have fun!

Forever in Our Hearts
Friday, September 11th, 2020

Another one bites the dust!
Monday, August 31st, 2020

Another month, that is. Four more months until the end of 2020! And it can’t happen fast enough, because I’m convinced this year is cursed.

I lost my mom, COVID hit, self-isolation began, killer hornets invaded, protests in the midst of isolation began, school began online, twin hurricanes threatened the coast… What’s next?!

Oh yeah, an election looms. So, the worst is yet to come, I’m sure. Be looking for more apocalyptic signs—the Kardashians will give away half their fortunes to fund food banks, locusts will swarm the midwest before harvests, a killer arctic storm will push south to freeze-dry everything in its path, and we’ll be streaming across the Rio Grande to safety… Oh yeah, that movie’s already been made.

Just streaming thoughts, y’all. September will see the start of Fall. I’m ready for it. I love sweaters and fuzzy socks. I’ll miss the pool, but I’m happy the year’s almost over because it’s been hellacious, right?

August is done. The one bright spot for me was the release of Cage, the first of my Montana Bounty Hunters: Dead Horse, MT series.


I finished off multiple editing jobs, as well. Created a bunch of little paintings. One little crochet project.

But what’s ahead for September?

I’m hoping to finish Lawless and the last of the With His SEAL Team stories.

Lawless Stepbrothers Stepping Out: With His SEAL Team 6

I hope to have Lawless complete by the end of the month, although I gave myself some wiggle room when I set up the pre-order. The SEAL team shorty should be out mid-month, so be watching for it!

I’m planning on taking several online art classes this month, so I’ll be posting pics on FB and Instagram—it keeps me motivated to produce. I’m also going to be making headband/ear warmers for the girls so they’ll be ready for cold weather. So, plenty to keep me busy while I’m writing, helping kids with online assignments, etc. It will be a busy fall. 🙂

And that’s it for my update. Hope I didn’t bore you too much with my August recap and look into September! I’d love to hear what apocalyptic signs you would add to my list as well as hear about any goals you’ve set for yourselves!