Photos

What I Did This Summer and Why I’m Not Still Doing It

I guess summer is almost over. I see students moving back in, and the Most Wonderful Time of the Year – school supply shopping time – is in full swing at all the finest retailers. I’m not sure where it all went, really; it seemed to go so quickly. Was it something that we said? (If you catch that reference, leave me a comment!)

I went on my first writer’s retreat this summer, up at The Porches. The Porches is basically Heaven for Writers. No, it really is. You don’t have to die or anything to get there, but that’s really the only difference.

While I was on retreat, after a nice early breakfast with my writer comrades, I spent all morning writing. At lunchtime, I headed downstairs for a quick bite to eat, which I hauled back up to my computer so I could write all afternoon. By the time we got to dinner, I’d written thousands of words. Over a single weekend, I wrote nearly ten thousand words. I didn’t have to have anything on for background noise. I didn’t need to be around people. All those conditions I usually set for myself just didn’t apply. The words came out smoothly and easily anyway, all day long.

At one point, probably right after lunch on Saturday, I thought, “You know, I could do this at home. All I have to do is turn everything off, open the door to the balcony, and let it flow. I mean, what does Trudy (I’m talking about the owner of The Porches, Trudy Hale) have that I don’t have?”

What does Trudy have? How about this?

Early Morning at The Porches

She has this, too.

More Morning at The Porches

She also has this. This is where the words were flowing for me.

The Jade Room

Okay. It’s been almost a month, and that’s still a little depressing. Let’s ask another question: What do I have that I didn’t have to deal with at The Porches?

I’ve got an unstable day job.

I’ve got cats in recovery from illness.

I’ve got the outside world, with all the drama and bills and responsibilities I could reschedule in favor of a retreat.

That’s depressing, too. What am I getting at?

I think my point is that I should be content with the glacial pace of my writing, now that I’m at home. I don’t have what Trudy has, after all, and I’m making the best of what I do have. But what matters most of all is that I’m adding to those ten thousand words, albeit very slowly. I feel new story ideas coming to life every day. I’m surrounded by little slips of notebook paper with little bits of dialogue written on them.

Someday I’ll bring the retreat home. In the meantime, I’m saving up for the next trip and slowly but surely getting the words into the computer.

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The Next, Next Big Thing: Taking the Hop to Jamaica

Last week, I kind of left you all high and dry with no blog post. I do feel bad about that. Things have just been out of control in real life lately. Wildly out of control. Sooner or later, I knew some innocent person would end up getting punished for it, and lo and behold, it turned out to be you.

Today, a whole day early, I’m going to make it up to you. My friend, author Denise Golinowski, tapped me last week for The Next Big Thing blog hop. Even though I didn’t thank her for it. See how patient everyone’s been with me? Anyway, the last time I did the hop, I gave you a little ten-question peek at my new release, ILLICIT IMPULSE. Today, I’m giving you a look at my next book.

  1. What’s the working title of your book? First question, and I’m stumped already. My first title for it was Fourth and Forever, but that was when the hero was a football player. I’ve since learned that he used to play baseball, so the title won’t work, even though I love it. Now I’m looking at something baseball-themed, something that still gets the idea across, so today’s title is Cleanup Man. Next week, it might be something else altogether.
  2. Where did the idea for the book come from? I can’t talk about this too much (aren’t you glad I’m doing this?) because the idea for this book came from my first book, and I’m pretty sure you haven’t all read the first book yet. Let me give you a fighting chance to do that. You don’t need to have read ILLICIT IMPULSE to enjoy this book, but if you’re planning to read ILLICIT IMPULSE, you’ll be happier if I keep some of these details to myself.
  3. What genre is your book in? It’s an interracial erotic romance.
  4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? I always have trouble with this. The two of them just look like the two of them, if you know what I mean. So I usually answer this question with Google. This time I started with “blond actors under 40.” Try that for a laugh and let me know how many blond actors you get. Then I ran across Chris Hemsworth. If he were to shave, he’d look like my hero. My heroine looks like Sanaa Lathan.
  5. What is the one-sentence synopsis for your book? A lifetime hasn’t been long enough for him to tell her he wants her – can he convince her with one week in paradise?
  6. Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency? My plan is to send it to Ellora’s Cave, once it’s finished, since that’s where the first book is.
  7. How long did it take you to finish the first draft of your manuscript? I’m still working on it. I think that’s why real life is coming after me with both hands. This is what happened the last time.
  8. What other books in your genre would you compare this story to? You know, I have trouble with this question, too; I try not to read hard in my genre while I’m writing. These days I’m reading mostly historical fiction after being converted by Deanna Raybourn, Tasha Alexander, and a bag full of free historical romances I won at the Virginia Festival of the Book. Here’s a little book pron. No, no, I insist; it’s the least I can do. Behold, the contents of my giveaway bag!book giveaway
  9. Who or what inspired you to write this book? The artsy answer to this question is that the hero wouldn’t leave me alone. And he wouldn’t, that’s the sort of guy he is. If you like something a little less woo-woo, my editor’s first question after I accepted the contract for the first book was, “Did you have a second book planned? Because if not, we’re going to have to look at this ending.” I didn’t think I’d ever finish the first book, so altering the ending – and potentially much of the rest of the story – was too much to bear. Far easier to write another book. Yeah, I like the artsy answer better, too.
  10. What else about the book might pique your reader’s interest? I take the hero and heroine to Jamaica for much of the story. My mother was born in Jamaica, and I’ve traveled there often to see my family. My Jamaica is local and authentic – I’ve never been to one of those all-inclusive resorts – and I hope my book does it justice.

That’s it, America! True to form, I’ve been too big a slack-ass to tap anyone else for this blog hop. Instead I’m going to use the space to thank my friend and genius critique partner Denise Golinowski. She bears so much of my slack-assitude with grace. I don’t even know how to thank her for all that.

Romanticon 2012 Photos: Glass Dildos, Hot Shirtless Men, and Soap

My total Romanticon wine bottle count is three. Erotic romance has been very, very good to me. Also in the frame are a mask and some beads from the Last Night of Your Life party.

Here I am (trust me, that’s me) with Ace. Ace is a great-looking guy, as are all the Cavemen, but again, I had to crop out both our heads because of the uptight folks at my job. My mom wonders why I don’t just pixelate my face, so that everyone is not punished for my poor career choices. I told her that was an artistic choice on the part of the blogger.

Mom, on the other hand, is happy to appear in the frame. Here she is with two hot new friends at the Pajama Bingo Party.

And here she is with the new Alpha Caveman, Nick. Mom has just won a bingo game, and Nick is verifying the numbers.

About three games later, Mom says, “Oh, Lex! You know who you could have gotten a picture of? You should have gotten a picture of Nick when he was over here!” Yeah. Mom was in her own little Caveman-induced fog.

This is Mom with Giorgio. Told you he was cute!

And here I am with Ryan. I have a really blurry photo of Ryan all by himself, which I had hoped to post here so that you can see that amazing face of his. He invited me to join him for a photo of both of us. I was trying to figure out how to avoid cropping both of us out, and he looked at me, gently, like, “See, now I just think you’re being silly.”

I told him that if people saw both of us in the frame they would have all sorts of questions. He said, “Yes. They’re going to say, ‘What are you both doing in your pajamas at this hour?’ This is what we *want.*”

We do want that!

This is Rodney at the annual Pajama Bingo Party, about to give a lucky winner a lap dance.

At our Last Night of Your Life party, I got this photo of Rodney wearing a garment made almost entirely of peacock feathers.

And here’s Christian in the same outfit. See? It’s nice when I don’t have to crop myself out, isn’t it? Particularly because Christian is easily head and shoulders taller than I am. Cropping myself out would have cut him in half and done everyone a disservice, right?

Original Caveman CJ is below from our Last Night of Your Life party. I felt bad for turning up in jeans, but if there is one thing I can be sure of about the last night of my life, it is this — I am going to be comfortable.

This is the crew from Cleveland Exotic Dance, looking awesome at the Sunday SEXporium. Those ladies can move!

I scored these two glass dildo keychains from the souvenir room because I couldn’t decide between them. Now I can’t decide what keys to put them on. It seems a shame to put them on my dull, everyday keys, but if part of my philosophy is that every day can be a little sexy, that’s exactly where they should go, right?

And now, my story about the soap.

The swag tables are a favorite destination for me and Mom every year at Romanticon. We both take a long, slow pass over the tables, and then we carry our loot upstairs and compare notes. After the first pass, she showed me a pair of nice, big green jelly candies in a cellophane envelope. I was bummed — I love jelly candy — but I resolved to score my own before the conference was over. It took a little while, but I finally grabbed some nice lemon-lime jelly candy on Sunday afternoon and went right upstairs before Pajama Bingo to eat them.

I popped a jelly candy into my mouth and started chewing. Hmm. Not as sweet as I’d expected. But then my palate is not so sophisticated. I kept chewing. Maybe it was a more subtle lemon taste. More lemon juice than lemon candy.

Then I thought, “You know what this tastes like?”

I went into the bathroom and spat the jelly candy into my hand. Then I rubbed it between my hands and got fragrant lather.

It took me about 20 minutes to rinse the soap out of my mouth, and I was hiccuping soap bubbles for much longer than that! But I kept my sliver of soap with the teeth marks in it.

Reality hit me like a fist this morning. How can Romanticon be over so soon? I had to pay for breakfast. I was on the elevator at work several times today and saw not a single Caveman. All I have are photos. And a story idea. And plans for next year. And some chewed-up soap, three bottles of wine, loads of chocolate, a bunch of books, and a pair of dildo keychains.

You’re right, it’s not that bad. I’m just upset right now that there are no Cavemen on my elevator. In time, I will learn to live with that.

Photos from Romanticon 2012 — Day 1

Hey, neighbors!

I am at Romanticon 2012 this weekend, which I hope accounts for the lateness of this post. To make up for it, I have enclosed a couple of pictures. I will continue to post photos as long as there are things to photograph.

Here’s my supercool badge with a bottle of wine, which is one of our party favors:

And here’s your correspondent with Georgio. Georgio’s got a very, very handsome face, but I had to crop him out because my face is right next to his. Unfortunately, I work for people who would cause trouble for all of us if they knew this was what I did with my spare time. So I had to crop the picture, and we’re all paying the price.

(See, if I wrote erotica full time for a living, I could leave my face in. Just saying.)